Archive for the ‘daughters’ Category

My husband and I love to travel and explore new places. We rarely begin any journey with an itinerary, and yet we always end up having the most remarkable times.

Yes, we have our “Bucket List” of places we’ve yet to visit, places both near and far… but this past Friday night we stumbled upon one of the most amazing “near” places imaginable – WaterFire.

The night began when Jane asked us to join her and her husband for dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant in Providence. I hadn’t been to this restaurant since November, so I was up for the best vegetarian Thai spaghetti anywhere. We also “BYOB”, and relaxed over dinner, wine and beer. The night was my favorite… warm, with a warm wind.

As we were leaving the restaurant, the owner asked if we were headed to WaterFire.

We weren’t. But we immediately changed our minds. Yes, it was kind-of a long walk. And I did have high heeled clogs on. But hey, my husband and I hadn’t been to WaterFire in four years.

So what is WaterFire?

WaterFire is the most stunningly beautiful, award winning work of art that I have ever seen. WaterFire was designed by sculptor Barnaby Evans… where one hundred bonfires are lit on braziers installed in the three rivers of downtown Providence. The fires are ceremoniously lit, one at a time, at dusk. Soon the bonfires that sit on the water are sending delicious scents and crackling flames up and down the rivers.

And it’s free. Families, teenagers, lovers, senior citizens… people from all walks of life converge in the center of the city as enchanting music fills the air, vendors sell the wares, and fires delight.

I have always loved Providence. I love its history. I love its name. I love its diversity. I love its recent renaissance.

And I fell in love all over again Friday evening as I strolled with my husband and Jane and Steve… with the sparkling bonfires dancing on the river.

Yes, sometimes we don’t have to look further than our own back yards for the most special things of all.

Please tell me about the special things in your back yard!

An artist ignites the fires at Waterfire

– Sharon

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What can get me OUT of bed at midnight…

Slip on a fabulous pair of Manolos…

And say, “Hello, lovahs!” like I mean it?

Yes… Sex and the City.

There is nothing quite like Sex and the City. Funny. Flamboyant. Fabulous!

And I got to see all the fabulousness at a sold-out midnight show at our local Showcase Cinema with Audrey, Jane and my husband Barry last night. Or more accurately, this morning!

Me, Jane and Audrey waiting in line at the theater

You see, I have a history with sex and the city. No, not THAT kind of history… (or at least I ‘m not telling.) But a real history with the show.

I became good friends with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte back in the summer of ’99, when Audrey and Jane were both living in New York City for the summer. Audrey was interning at ABC’s The View and Jane was taking an acting course at NYU. They shared a dorm suite at NYU right in the heart of Union Square. I drove into NYC at least once a week to visit (and bring them on shopping sprees… food shopping, that is). OK. We ventured to Soho and Madison Avenue more often than I told my husband (!)…

But I found myself by myself during the days, exploring the great city of New York. It was on these days that I met my four new best friends. Right across the street from the dorm, there seemed always to be so much film activity. I would grab a morning coffee at The Coffee Shop, sit outside in Union Square, take in the city sounds and sights… and decide what to do that day. But first, I would watch the makings of what would become my favorite HBO show. Sex and the City. Being created right there in front of me in Union Square.

I did not know then how much fun and fashion and fabulousness my new friends would bring to my life. And to the lives of my daughters. I know that little game where women say which Sex and the City friend is most like them. Well, I know that as women grow and age and develop new relationships, that identity can change a bit. But it is always so refreshing to have Carrie philosophizing, Samantha lusting, Miranda balancing and Charlotte nurturing. This is exactly what they are still doing (without giving too much of the movie away!).

And last night at midnight, wearing my Manolos and surrounded by my own beautiful all-grown-up daughters and my own Mr. Big… I was in Sex and the City Heaven.

So when I arrived home at 3:00 am and kicked off my Manolos, how did I feel?

Fabulous. Of course!

– Sharon

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I have a big secret.

One that makes me a super/great/cool grandma, but a horrible/scoundrel mother.

This morning I picked up my grandson from pre-school. (No, this is not the horrible thing.)

I guess I should give a bit of background information. Audrey asked if I could possibly pick up William from pre-school.

I said, “Sure.”

She said, “Now, he will ask to play on the playground afterwards… but he can’t.”

I innocently asked, “Why not?”

She said, “Because he had a little problem this morning with listening to me, and I had to take away something that he loves. Like the playground after school.”

“OK,” I said. But I didn’t really give a hoot about the listening thing because it wasn’t ME he didn’t listen to.

So… this morning I picked up my grandson at pre-school. He came bounding out of his classroom and into my waiting arms. He had papers and paintings that he couldn’t wait to show me. His hair was all sweaty from, as he said, “Running faster than a cougar.” He asked if we were getting something to eat. He put his little hand in mine. We left the building.

Then he said, “Can I play on the playground?”

OK. Balance of powers. Tug-of-war. Right from wrong.

As wrong as wrong can be… I said, “Sure.”

My wise eyes caught the brilliant blue of his. Then he squinted in that precious way he does when a thought engages his mind. “But, Grandma… didn’t Mommy say…”

Of course my thought process went something like this… “Why, oh beautiful daughter, have I forsaken your demands?” as I uttered the utterly scandalous, “Just don’t tell Mommy.”

Oh, he hesitated. For a nano second. Then he broke into a cougar-like run with me right behind him (well, maybe me more in a cougar-like limp) toward the playground, where we romped and climbed and, well, played.

It is only now that the deed is done that I pose to myself this unsettling query: Am I bad?

Well, if I am, I guess Audrey already knows – or will when she reads this. (Sorry, honey!)

– Sharon

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This morning, Audrey and her little family came to Grandma and Pop-up’s (that’s what they call Grandpa) for breakfast.

And there are many “rules” to breakfast with three little guys, a pregnant mama and one hungry daddy. 

First, the bacon must be already sizzling when they arrive.  Audrey loves the sounds and aromas of bacon.  It reminds her of going to her Nana Flo’s house for breakfast when she was a little girl.  Nana Flo had the not-so-secret-anymore recipe of mixing bacon grease (I can’t believe I’m sharing this compete-and-total saturated fat secret) with her pancake batter to create the most delectably crunchy pancakes imaginable, and Pop-up has mastered the art. And oh yeah, Audrey has craved bacon this entire pregnancy with her little Henry!

Second, and very important… the coffee must be ready.  Not brewing.  Ready.   

Third, Pop-up better not have already mixed the pancake batter.  3-year old William loves to help Pop-up measure and combine the eggs, milk and batter into the smooth and creamy mix.  And he loves to chat with Pop-up about the entire process.

Next, it is a pretty good idea for me to have 11-month old Benjamin’s oatmeal cereal and bananas ready.  Benjamin has to be the easiest baby I have ever met, but the little guy loves his morning meal!   

Last, I should have 2-year old Alexander’s counter space pretty clear.  He must climb by himself onto his stool at the counter where he can color with his crayons ‘til the “pancanks” are served.

And everything went as expected… except for Ally.  He sauntered into our house holding his Little Tykes boom box.  Without taking off his coat or hat, he pressed a couple of buttons on his boom box and said to me, “Dance, Grandma.”

“Okay, Honey.”  This is what Grandmas do. 

So I moved my arms a little while simultaneously helping Audrey with coats, hats and mittens.  This is what Moms do.

“DANCE, Grandma!” was Ally’s response to my “dancing.”

A couple more buttons.  Another little tune.  “Okay.”  Now I move my arms a little more rhythmically and add leg movement.

Well, not rhythmically enough.

“DANCE, Grandma… DANCE,” was Ally’s response to my obviously pathetic attempt at breakfast disco.

So I danced.  Arms.  Legs.  Spins.  Dips.  Twist.  Freakin’ Limbo. 

I danced to Little Tykes with wild abandon. 

Let me just say here that I cocktail waitressed my way through college (one very long stint where my “uniform” was a red tie-up-the-center corset with white ruffled panties… yes), and I was often on-duty for morning/breakfast business meetings where pillars of society asked me if I “danced.”  Well, no.  But that was the early 70’s. 

And anyway, I guess all that waitressing and hey-she-looks-like-a-dancer prepared me in great measure for my darling little grandson asking his Grandma to get her groove on.   

Hey, at least he didn’t toss me a quarter.

That’s a lesson for another breakfast.

Thanks, Little Ally… you made my day!

– Sharon

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Christmas memories are oftentimes so clear. So powerful. So immense.

These memories quicken our senses.

And if it is true that to be able to enjoy one’s memories is to live twice, then my Christmas Angel has allowed me to live over and over again… and again.

Each Christmas, when I unwrap my Angel, swirls of colors and voices and heavenly vibrations enter my head and my home.

It is quite magical.

This is her story.

My Dad was a guy who loved to fix things. He was good at it. He had lots of tools… not too organized, but he knew where everything was. I especially remember the old, heavy metal cases that he had rescued from work at the Navy base, and sometimes even from the side of the road. These cases became storage for his wealth, his tools.

I did a lot of puttering around with my Dad. Interestingly enough, my two brothers didn’t. They loved my Dad as much as I did, but the rescuing and fixing gene was lost on them. Ah yes, they loved to HAVE things fixed for them… like my Mom (yes Mom, you know it’s true!).

So one Christmas season, a few days before Christmas, my Dad needed something or other from our local Benny’s, the place we went to get all kinds of fixing things back in the late 60’s. You know, before Home Depot and Lowe’s. I guess I should give a little shout out to Benny’s here, because we still have our good old Benny’s stores here in Rhode Island. Ah, Benny’s… the place where my precious Christmas Angel memory was born.

With me tagging along, my Dad found what he was looking for. And then he spotted, on one of those innocuous discount tables, a beautiful little angel. She was dressed in a lovely white tulle skirt that had brilliant gold sequins sewn across the bottom. Her wings were the same white tulle, with two sparkling gold sequins sewn high on each side. Her center was a small golden globe. And her arms were white pipe cleaners with lights on the ends that folded toward heaven. Her neck was wrapped with a golden tinsel-type wrap.

But I think it was her face that captured my Dad’s heart. She was so petite. So innocent. Her beautiful blue eyes were looking to the left. Her cheeks were bowls of cherries. And in her blonde hair was a golden bow.

And even though she was plastic… she was exquisite.

But her lights didn’t work. Neither the light in her center, nor the lights at her hands. Hence, her place at the discount table.

Well, my Dad picked her up and said, “I’m going to take her home and fix her lights.”

I was pretty much like, “OK, Dad.” Never knowing or imagining that the moment at hand would permanently be imprinted on my life. In my heart. In my soul.

Well, we bought her. I think she cost less than a dollar. We brought her home. My Dad rewired her. Fixed her. Lit her up like the angel she was destined to be. Then we placed her on top of our Christmas tree.

And she sat atop our tree for many years. Each year as we unpacked her, I thought about how my Dad fixed things. How careful he was. How caring and wonderful.

And then my Dad passed away suddenly in August of 1975.

That first Christmas brought lots of tears as I unpacked the Christmas Angel. The reminiscence was almost too much to bear. But as my Mom watched, I placed our Christmas Angel ever so carefully atop our tree that year.

By the next Christmas, I was married and living in a home of my own. I must note here that my Dad never met the man who would become my husband. But my dad had heard me talk of this man “Barry” during my visits to see him in the hospital after his major heart attack. In this sense, I know for sure that my Dad had given his seal of approval to this wonderful man in my life.

My Mom had also sold her home. And all I needed and wanted were the Christmas decorations.

And this is how I came to have the Christmas Angel.

And on each of the past 31 Christmases, since my Dad passed away, I have placed the Christmas Angel atop my tree. Each time, I see my Dad’s face… his strong and caring hands… his easy manner and beautiful smile.

And although her lights have not worked for some time now, my Christmas Angel still dazzles the room with the brilliant light that comes from that place where memories are born.

Was the memory born at Benny’s? Perhaps.

But I know that my cherub becomes brighter and brighter each time I tell the story of the Christmas Angel. And how my Dad rescuing her allows her to bring him home to us each and every Christmas.

Yes, it is magic. Heavenly magic.

– Sharon

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Being the baby of the family certainly has its perks.

As the youngest of my four siblings, my family just kind of accepts (or has become resigned to) the fact that I’m forgetful, always running late and a serious procrastinator. And they pick up the slack for me because, well… I’m the baby.

With that being said, it can also go the other way. As in, sometimes I’m still not treated like an adult a little overprotected.

OK, so maybe I’ve been driving around with only one headlight for a few weeks.

And maybe Mom and Dad have made me promise suggested a few times that I get it fixed.

(Hey, I’m the baby. Shouldn’t this stuff get done for me!?)

In any case, yesterday I did something that brought great shame and disappointment to the parents who I would not put it past to have implanted a tracking device in me as a teenager:

I forgot my cell phone at home.

This meant that after having dinner with my parents last night (my husband Steve was at parent-teacher night at his school), I had to make the 15 minute drive back to my house with only one headlight – and no cell phone!

I know, I know – Stop. The. Presses!

So, this was my conversation with my parents when they became aware of this horrifying scenario.

Mom: I can’t believe you don’t have your phone on you!

Me: It’s not the end of the world. I’ll call you as soon as I get home.

Mom: What if you get stopped by the police?

Me: How would me having or not having my cell phone affect that whatsoever?

Mom: The cop could take your car away and leave you stranded!

Me: I highly doubt the cop would take my car away because it’s missing a headlight. And even if he did, do you really think he’d just leave me there to fend for myself without a car or a way to call someone?

Mom (ignoring my rational question): I can just picture you standing alone on the side of the road with your dogs – and no cell phone!

Dad’s turn to chime in:

Dad: Well, what route are you going to take home?

Me: Why?

Dad: If we don’t hear from you within a half hour, we’ll come looking for you.

You see what happens when there’s no one younger than you for your parents to go police interrogation, Law & Order-style on?

And while Audrey is usually my go-to person when I’m looking for sympathy only a sibling could provide, she is no use in a situation like this. She’s just as bad as my parents when it comes to overprotecting me.

Still, I have the ability now, as an almost-27-year-old, to look at this differently than I would have as a teenager. My parents aren’t trying to ruin run my life, as I once would have thought. (Yes, even though I’ve always had a fabulous relationship with my parents, I was an angst-ridden teenager at one point.)

They love me. They care about me. And when it comes down to it, I would gladly humor them, as overprotective as they may be, any day rather than have parents who could care less about my whereabouts – or my lack of cell phone and/or headlight.

*I’m looking forward to hearing Mom’s and/or Dad’s side of this story, too!

– Jane

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Since Halloween is just a few weeks away, we thought we’d throw it back to October 1983. Audrey and Jane were so excited to be dressed up as cheerleaders (you guessed it… “A” for Audrey and “J” for Jane!). I (Sharon) took this picture of them posing with my husband/their father, Barry, who was dressed up as… hmmm. Your guess is as good as mine!


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